Client: Virgin Voyages
Location: Rome- travelling ship, FL, United States
Completion date: 2021
Ariel Grue Lee
Farm Boy Fine Arts
Photography and Video
Miguel de Guzman
Swirl comprises two site-specific string installations that sit symmetrically at the pedestal surrounding a high end restaurant in the Valiant Lady Cruise Ship from Virgin Voyages.
Placed at port and starboard, the red- and green-hued sculptures guide the passenger like navigation lights in the mist.
The stainless steel mirrors at the top reflect each piece in a watery vision, an altered reality floating and beckoning from above.
The integration into the space was key to the project. I am used to larger scale projects, so it was a challenge to create a smaller but impactful piece. I used the full height available so it could be perceived from all around the stern. The low ceilings were compensated for by adding a mirror to the base and top of the piece in order to give it a larger appearance and create reflections that make the piece blend into the space.
The illuminated glass platform on which the sculpture sits, reflects against an angled mirror, so depending on one’s point of view the sculpture looks like a lighthouse. The dialogue between both sculptures and the space was carefully analyzed. There is a dynamic view walking from the main curved corridor as well as a static view from sitting at the different tables of the high-end restaurant.
Farmboy Fine Arts commissioned the project for Virgin Voyages a year in advance. There was a design phase in which all aspects were discussed including technical issues regarding installing the piece on a ship with movement and vibrations. I collaborated with Madfaber to produce the structural pieces and there was a lot of coordination for the installation as the cruise ship was moving through Italy and strong measures were taken against Covid. I visited the cruise ship in Palermo and the installation happened near Pisa. Installers in the ship helped me adjust the piece on site and solve some technical issues.